wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
There are thrills for sure but they don't last for too long. Also, the peak of suspense comes a bit too late.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - wondering what must have made Nagesh Kukunoor take the "star" route...
It has been a roller coaster ride - first thing that scandalizes me is that there's an Akshay Kumar movie in the offing and I come to know about it only a week in advance. Whatever happened to glamorized promos for "stars"? What's this world coming to?
But then, it’s a Nagesh Kukunoor film, it can only be good that it doesn't have a full-blown marketing plan to over-hype the film. Soon enough, I come across this promotional song -
Ouch! The regular generic rap-crap. As I thank sanity while shaking off visions of Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag doing an item number to promote Dor, I look for the trailers and find this -
So, if it was Ray who could tell the future with his camera last week, this week it is Jai who can look into the past through his supernatural capabilities. Again, interesting concept and this time in a competent director's hand - we will choose to forget follies like Bombay to Bangkok. The man is trying different genres and romance doesn't seem to be his thing, maybe action thriller is.
The only issue that bothers me though is the gloss in the trailer. The raw feel of his earlier films like Iqbal or Teen Deewarein or Dor is sorely missing.
I must say though that I love the official site just for its synopsis. It actually is a synopsis and not a long-wound description of the story. Gels perfectly with the "without giving the movie away" waali!
So, turns out that the story is dark and Akshay has worked hard on research because it is not his regular run-of-the-mill slapstick, talk loud and get it done with kind of a movie. As always, I'm all set to watch anyone try anything different. And then there's also Sharmila Tagore to look forward to.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Nope. There's no hope of anything to do with Akshay Kumar ever being unglamorous or non-stylized. If Nagesh Kukunoor can't do it, no one can. Given that 8 x 10 Tasveer is a thriller, maybe the whole super-heroic personality accorded to the main lead is very intentional. But, it borders disbelief so closely that the film feels more like comedy and doesn't strike awe at all. And I'm not yet talking of the superpowers he has.
That Jai (Akshay Kumar) can look into the past has to be accepted as an assumption. The weird mumbo-jumbo provided as explanation is only to be ignored. Once you do that, it's an interesting concept and opens a world of opportunities. Nagesh's use of his protagonist's ability gives the regular "who dunnit" a very nice flavor.
Jai realizes things bit by bit and with him the audience becomes aware of what had happened. This slow unfolding adds to the curiosity. And yet somehow there's no connection between Jai and me as an audience. There's a distance which stays through the movie and doesn't let me get too involved. I blame the over-dramatization for that. Either the hero or the villain resurrecting like he is The Terminator is just too 80-90ish for me and thus exasperating. "Die already" you feel like yelling from the audience. This reminds me of the "fall already" that a viewer actually yelled in the theater at the never-ending, pointless jump that Jai makes in one of the early sequences. Had the whole theater laughing!
The script does a good job of pointing a finger at all involved. Just like a person looking for an answer would suspect every one around him. But my problem with such mysteries is that the foreshadowing is more an attempt to confuse than to give a tiny bit away. Deleting elements from a scene and then later showing that element is no way of saying, "caught you!" It's cheating.
Twists are awesome and I love it when they catch me unaware. But some of the twists here either come a tad too late and you can pre-empt them. Or they are almost out of the blue and a little too difficult to digest. Another thing that annoys me is the villain spelling everything out to the hero and thus to the audience. There surely must be a better way to go about this.
Even if you discount for the fact that action films don't necessarily need a whole deal of acting, most of the performances are wooden. Especially Girish Karnad - there was a sizable amount of guffawing at his dialogue delivery. While Akshay Kumar does his usual bit, Ayesha Takia is just about tolerable. What's happening to this woman who was so impressive just two years ago. Javed Jafferi on the other hand brought a smile if not laughter with every movement - this time very intentional. By the way, I shudder to think what Nagesh will do if he ever has a full blown bedroom scene in his script. Just a hug comes out as heavily awkward. Or was Sharmila Tagore strutting around with the censor scissors on set?
Drop the baggage associated with a Nagesh Kukunoor film. He seems to be struggling to strike a balance between his sensibilities and those of mainstream cinema. Don't worry, the stylish titles will help you along - they are really slick but so not what you associate with the Kukunoor name. Maybe he's trying to say, "I can make such films too!" Also, keep the Akshay Kumar 'star' style tag on sans the loudness - thankfully! And then you might give yourself a good chance to enjoy this.
- meeta, a part of the audience
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Jai's (Akshay Kumar) father dies. He is given reason to believe that it was a murder. Jai uses his superpowers to unveil the dark side of the people around his dad.